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Police investigate source of fentanyl pills behind epidemic of high school overdoses

By Jake Beardslee · November 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Eight students at a Virginia high school overdosed on suspected fentanyl in three weeks
  • Four overdoses happened on school grounds, requiring medical intervention
  • Police believe students took counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl
  • Officials are concerned about the growing fentanyl crisis among U.S. teens
A troubling fentanyl overdose crisis at a Virginia high school has officials scrambling to combat the growing epidemic of fentanyl use by teenagers.  Vahurzpu/Wikimedia

A troubling opioid epidemic is unfolding at a Virginia high school, where eight students at Park View High School in Sterling overdosed on what police believe was fentanyl in just three weeks, reports The Daily Mail. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a total of nine opioid overdoses at the school this year, bringing the number of investigations into young people overdosing in the county to 18 so far.

Four of the recent overdoses happened on school grounds, requiring staff to administer Naloxone and perform CPR on students. The sheriff’s office said all the students took blue pills marked “M30,” believed to be counterfeit oxycodone laced with fentanyl. Police are trying to determine the source of these pills.

“We want to protect the kids that are in the school. We want to make sure they are more aware of the dangers of fentanyl, which can be lethal in a single dose,” said Sheriff’s spokesperson Thomas Julia.

Superintendent Aaron Spence said in a statement that he is “concerned and saddened” by the crisis and that the district has begun a fentanyl awareness program. But the sheriff’s office believes more needs to be done. Fentanyl overdoses among U.S. teens have risen sharply in recent years.